As a young child, I was told something that stuck with me, that “there are two types of people, leaders and followers.” These days it rings true more than ever.
As soon as you encounter 77Klash (Two Seven Klash) born Mikkel Burrowes, you know this is ain’t no typical Yardie! A certain Punk Rock style come across in his attire, his speech and his whole demeanor. Nowadays you may sight a lot of Jamaicans sporting a spiked belt, but Klash’s punk rock style is authentic and natural… and predates the current faux punk rock trends littered throughout dancehall, hiphop and hipsterville.
Klash has been bubblin’ in the music scene since he was a little kid playing percussion in Jr. Reid’s band, to a bunk deal on Motown Records as a teen, to now being known as an innovator that crosses boundaries and staying ahead of the curve. As producer, Klash scored big with the Scallawah Riddim for Turbulence’s “Notorious“going #1 in Jamaica for a stretch of several weeks and #2 on BBC’s 1 Xtra , and the Swarm Riddim for “Ah You” was Aidonia’s signature tune for a few years and a staple in the hardcore dancehall circuit. As an artist, his electro’d out cult hits “Brooklyn Anthem” and “Mad Again” have put him in a league of his own by uniquely combining Jamaica, Brooklyn, and Downtown culture.
Largeup recently caught up with the artist / producer / dare I say “trendsetta”! Seemingly everywhere at once and aptly named after an apocalyptic Rastafarian prophecy of armageddon, Two Seven Klash is definitely a force to be reckoned with…
LU: So tell me about your new project with Trouble & Bass
77: It’s an EP, that me, Drop The Lime, AC Slater came together and did this real dark dubsteppy type project. We leaked one track off it called “Dangerous Nights, 11:53” and I just did a video to it that’s just like a teaser, a taste of what’s coming on that record, T+B and 77Klash
LU: What’s the direction these days, people seem like their catching up to what you do, so what are you doing to stay ahead of the game?
77: People ah catch up to what mi a do four years ago! You zeeit, mi constantly switching speeds and changing gears, you know weh mi a seh zoom, zoom, zoom! By the end of the day, the tortoise win the race, so some people is like doin’ all kinda things and I ain’t even really worried about that cause the style cyaan done, we got them galore!
Yeah, just experimenting with new music basically, I can make whole projects off of a specific direction that I wanna push into, and I got a whole bunch of them that haven’t even been touched yet. The material people been gettin’ from me is been from me hustlin’ and being on the grind, I don’t really have the powers that be to make the ultimate record, so it’s getting more and more toward that point where the records are getting better and better cause better and better scenarios are being presented, affecting how the product is made.
LU: How do you feel about all these different global phenomenon that are all somehow based in Jamaican music, ie; dub, dubstep, tropical, etc.
77: I kinda see Jamaican music, and the sounds that come out of JA as the Last of the Mohican of… purity! Cats just do what they want and do what they feel, (laughs), there is no really specific, formulated, contrived way of making hits in Jamaica. A few artists got a formula, but I would say 90% of Jamaican artists just make songs up, then and there what they feeling and it’s pure so, after being fed pop music for years, people want a realer sound, and want more edgy type sound to mix their music with.
LU: Who else are you working with?
77: Sando Kahn, he’s a very sick producer. I still work with Jahdan, did some stuff with Sinden, Drop The Lime…I did this nice remix of Jah Mason’s “I Told You” with this cat from Belgium called Paul Alt. I’ve kinda been working with all subculture people, I been working with Mass Processor, some good dubstep dudes. Not really working with a whole lot of people on it, it’s really just me.
LU: How bout the work you did with Switch?
77: Me and Skerrit and dem, It deh pon youtube, the tune I did with Skerrit, and I think Roscoe made the beat. There’s footage from the Halloween party when I carried some kids who was doin’ an epk on me and I lent Mad Decent some of the footage from that party. They sync’ed up the footage from “Higher Than A Motherfucker”
LU: Where are you getting the most feedback as an artist and producers? Where in the world?
77: It’s always been England…
LU: Radio play? BBC?
77: Yeah you know some shit I did with Mumdance, Badness and AC Slater was being rinsed on the BBC regularly, we did a tune called “Transatlantic”, it was getting heavy spins, I think Westwood played it once, definitely all the 1Extra cats were playing it…
LU: When’s the last time you went to Jamaica?
77: I just got back from Jamaica two weeks ago.
LU: What were you up to down there?
77: I was working with this organization (Klash City Skate Jam) that I founded with Kelly Rae and Jamil GS, that is enhancing, cultivating and developing skate culture in Jamaica. As far as getting parks built and getting gear and boards to kids, you know…
A lot of people participated in getting that gear to Jamaica, I gotta big up Ms. Pat from VP Records, she paid for the shipping, big up the minister ‘Babsy’ Grange, she helped us get the waiver cleared at the wharf, big up Ashley from Supra who sent over 70 pairs of kicks, big up KCDC skate shop, who sent out mad stuff.
Basically between me, Kelly Rae and Jamil, we russled up lots of gear to donate to to different charity organizations, we gave Morline Summer Camp (afterschool program) a bunch of stuff, Trenchtown, Tivoli, St. Thomas home to foundation, Upliftment Jamaica (headed up by Gary Foster) where we’re working on building a (skate) bowl at their community center. And we gave Boston Bay, which has arguably the best skaters out of Jamaica–on a whole, a bunch of gear. But this has been going on for years, you know, helping to develop the skate thing in Jamaica, getting shoes, shirts, boards, etc.
But I did also attend the screening of this movie I had a little cameo in called “A Dance For Grace“, the title kept changing but I think that’s still the title! It was a dance movie, Syren and the whole of dem in deh. Donna Ray cast it and all dem ting deh, it was a big dance movie.
I saw a bunch of other movies that was at the Reggae Film Festival which my Aunt, Barbara Blake threw, so we were checking out a bunch of movies that was revolved around reggae. I saw a great one called “Wah Do Dem” by this director called Ben Chase, it’s like Billyburg meets Jamaica, it was some funny shit!
I was doing that at night time and in the day I was assembling and giving out skateboards in different hoods and community centers, speaking with the community leaders and organizers and Jamaican government and Christian Summer camp / after school programs, minister of education to intertwine skateboarding in and all that.
LU: What’s the next step with that?
77: Get some parks built, definitely get more than one bowl on the Island.
LU: How bout working with the dancers? Cause you helped buss some of these dancers to get them real exposure.
77: I got one dance tune (“Bounce”) that’s gonna be crazy, but this one’s not gonna be limited to Jamaican dancers, this dance tune gonna have every motherfucka who can tap their goddamn feet moving! Nahmsayin, this that whole new shit, this dance is for everyone, it’s like Olivia Newton John shit man, get physical, let me see your body talk, cut the bullshit, get on the dancefloor and MOVE!